CBS' "Elementary" seems to have found its groove, settling in for another decent enough though not stellar episode this week.
Sherlock is fighting off an illness, running a high fever but still intent on assisting his associates at the NYPD with their latest puzzling case. Professor Trent Annunzio, department chair of East Asian Studies at Garrison University, dumped at an abandoned warehouse with both eyes shot out.
Evidently, the professor is also an avid gambler at underground Chinese casinos, Holmes identifying several items as good luck charms. Detective Bell actually steps up for once as well, identifying mah-jong tiles that served as entry keys to these underground dens. The case seems pretty open and shut, with security footage clearly showing the murderer's face and the robbery that lead to Annunzio's death. It appears that the gunman was hired by an unknown party, and Annunzio's disgruntled teaching assistant Brendan O'Brien is the prime suspect.
Upon hearing of O'Brien's charges, Mrs. Annunzio pegs her not-quite-husband Trent as a sexual sadist. After bringing her stateside with promises of marriage, the professor reneged on the promise, abusing her and forcing her to perform depraved acts or else he would have her deported. Everything begins to have the air of a set-up, but who is behind it?
Other than some laughable product placement, it's a decent enough mystery despite being somewhat more predictable than past episodes. I generally dislike cases in which the "ah-ha!" moment is some piece of evidence that hasn't even been hinted at during any point in the story, but this didn't quite venture into that territory.
Joan meanwhile deals with an ex, Liam, currently bunking at Riker's Island. It appears he has fallen back off the wagon, charged with a hit and run that he denies being a part of. The relationship was a rocky one, but laid the foundation for Watson's later career as a sober companion. As a side story, it was passable, though it seemed it would tie more into the Holmes/Watson bond if Liam had in fact been a former client. That way, Holmes' assistance is more testing Watson to see if she would be there if he himself were ever in such dire straits.
Overall, not a terrible episode, but not one of the series' best or one that you would be remiss for not watching. I was really hoping the string of Irene Adler teases was immediately leading somewhere, but that story has stalled for the time being (likely February sweeps) and the series continues to coast along.
Final Grade: C+